Posted by: sweetpea | September 25, 2007

Another long overdue update!

Yet again time seems to have flown since my last update on all things lottie related, and I have no excuse either for my absence other than the usual not finding the time to write.   I guess part of the reason is that as the years go by down on the plot, although I still love it to bits, things aren’t so new anymore and I guess I don’t think to write about what I’ve been up too! 

 So what have I been up to whilst I’ve been away?

Well, things down at the plot have been ticking along nicely, although it has definitely not been as successful a year as last year in many ways.  I’ve had a total of about 6 courgettes off 2 plants, I mean can you believe that. Last year I had courgettes coming out of my ears, didn’t know what to do with them all, I’m even still eating the ones I had frozen now.  Admittedly I did have 6 plants last year, hence only having 2 this year, but still, a crop of 6 is rather pathetic I think!

The squashes have been doing ok, although most are only producing one per plant. I have one which I thought was a white patty pan, but it is definitely not a patty pan despite being white.  As I received the seed in a seed swap, I suspect that it is a result of a cross last year. I wonder what they will taste like, it has been the fastest growing and most prolific of all the squashes this year. My butternuts are only just starting to fruit, so I have my fingers crossed that there is still enough time left in the season. I think I may try fleecing them soon to try and give them a little more time to grow before it gets too cold.

My climbing beans have finally started to bear some beans, which are lovely eaten raw straight from the plant, in fact I’m not getting enough for a meal yet so that is the way I am tending to eat them at the moment.  Other things that have been doing well this year are my Bulls blood beetroot (not had as much luck with the other varieties), pak choi, lettuce, peppers (considering they ended up outside), and a couple of other things too.

The blackberries on the plot this year have been fantastic, I’ve been picking a good handful on my way to work to have with my cereal.  So far I’ve only managed to make an apple and bramble pie, some cordial and of course plenty of jam, but I have more in the freezer ready to be made into crumbles later in the year 🙂

Away from the lottie I’ve also been down to Askham Bog again.  It’s such a fantastic place, so quiet, and good for a bit of wildlife spotting.  There is usually a fair few dragonflies around (the one above was actually in our garden), I had one come and investigate me I’m sure on his hunting round of the pond. He really was beautiful, big and so brightly coloured, like the one in the photo although I’m not exactly sure if it was the same species as he wouldn’t stay still enough to get a goo look.  The one in the photo is I think a Southern Hawker.

Whilst I was sitting down by the pond just watching the dragonfly scout aroung the pond margins for prey, I had the most wonderful experience.  It is so true what they say about just sitting still and letting the wildlife come to you.  I saw something move in the corner of my eye and when I looked I saw a little brown furry nose poking through the water near the bank on my right, just a metre away from me. It didn’t stay long before submerging again. I guessed it was a water vole.  A few minutes later I could hear something munching away in the reeds on the right, and although I could detect the reeds moving I couldn’t see what was doing the munching although I assumed it was the vole.  It entered the water again without me seeing it, but I did see the trail of bubbles it was leaving, so followed them across the the reed bed on the left side of me.  He climbed out and sat amongst the reeds for a couple of minutes.  I think he was aware I was there as he was looking at me, maybe trying to decide if I was friend or foe, before he made his escape into the water once again.

I just love such experiences, they don’t happen that often, but when they do they make me so happy 🙂  I just wish I’d had my camera with me so I could have shared a picture of him.

Well, I think that is probably enough of an update for now, except to say that I have my red ‘Electric’ onion sets ready to go in, and hopefully some ‘Radar’ sets on the way in the post.  I’ve been sorting out the biggest garlic cloves from this years harvest ready to plant.  I read that it is better to do this than buy new garlic cloves every year to plant as the garlic you grow will gradually acclimatise to your own particular growing conditions and you should get improved crops.  We shall see how they do next year.  I have of course also started thinking about what I want to grow next year even though I have yet to receive a single seed catalogue!

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